Know the Signs of Retinal Detachment

Everyone see little specks or strings floating through their vision from time to time, but a sudden increase of your floaters could be a sign of retinal detachment — an eye emergency that could result in blindness. Prompt action can save your vision. 

We now share the symptoms of a detached retina so you know what to do in the case of this eye emergency.

Signs of a detached retina

Your retina is the part of the back of your eye where light focuses and is converted to electrical signals that travel along your optic nerve to your brain. Retinal detachment is when the wall of retinal cells pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that nourish it. 

A detached retina doesn’t cause any eye pain or even a headache, but it can change your vision. For example, the most common warning sign is a sudden increase in the number of floaters in your eye. It might look like a waterfall of floaters sliding over your field of vision. You might also experience:

These symptoms can be disorienting, but don’t panic — take action.

What to do if you think you have a retinal detachment

If you develop any of these symptoms, call our team here at Retina Specialists and get immediate treatment and advice. With offices in Dallas, Desoto, Plano, Mesquite, Waxahachie, Texas, our team of expert ophthalmologists can offer convenient, same-day diagnosis and treatment for eye emergencies like a detached retina. 

In most cases, our ophthalmologists perform emergency surgery to repair your eye. The operation is known as a vitrectomy. They remove the vitreous that’s pulling on your retina and replace it with a gas or oil bubble that guides your retina back into place. In some cases, your surgeon places a scleral buckle around your eye to keep your retina from moving while your eye heals. 

What causes retinal detachment

There are three types of retinal detachment: rhegmatogenous, tractional, and exudative. 


A rhegmatogenous retinal detachment is the most common type. It occurs when a small hole in your retina allows fluid to accumulate underneath it. This creates pressure that pulls the retina away from the underlying blood vessels and tissues. 


A tractional retinal detachment is caused by scar tissue on your retina. Scar tissue could develop because of leaking blood vessels caused by diabetic retinopathy or extreme myopia (nearsightedness).


Exudative retinal detachment occurs when you have fluid between your retina and the wall of blood vessels, but no tear in the retina that allows fluid to accumulate. It’s more often due to another injury or eye conditions like macular degeneration

Your chances of developing a retinal detachment increase with age. Most rhegmatogenous retinal detachments are simply the result of age-related changes to your vitreous fluid — the gel substance that fills your eyeballs. 

If you’re diabetic, keeping your blood sugar well-controlled is important to eye health. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to abnormal blood vessel growth on your retina, which contributes to tractional and exudative retinal detachments. 

If you have a family or personal history of retinal problems or extreme myopia, or you had a previous eye injury or surgery, your risk of a detached retina increases. Make sure you understand your risk factors and the signs of a retinal detachment so you can take action quickly and save your sight. 

Also, make sure to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams so we can monitor and track your retinal health. Call the nearest office to make an appointment. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

3 Diabetes-Related Eye Diseases

Millions of Americans live with diabetes, which increases their risk of blindness. If you have diabetes, you should have annual diabetic eye exams, including screenings for diabetic eye diseases such as retinopathy, macular swelling, and glaucoma.

Why Routine Eye Exams Are Important

If you don’t wear glasses or contact lenses, you might think you can skip routine eye exams. However, checkups are critical to protecting your eye health and vision. Learn why you should schedule your next eye exam today.

Macular Disease: What Are the Risks?

Millions of Americans have some form of macular disease, which is a leading cause of blindness. When you know your risk factors, you can make changes now to protect your vision. Learn more and schedule an eye exam today.

Are You a Candidate for a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials are a critical part of evaluating new medicines and treatments for eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion. If you want to try cutting-edge treatments, discover if you’re a candidate for a clinical trial.

Why Your Regular Diabetic Eye Exam Matters

Diabetes significantly increases your chances of developing an eye disease. Having regular diabetic eye exams allows your ophthalmologist to diagnose and treat diabetic eye diseases before they damage your vision permanently.

What's Behind the Flashes and Floaters?

Do you experience odd occurrences with your vision? Seeing bright dots of light floating in your vision or camera-like flashes can be quite daunting. Here we explain the reasons behind them and when it is that you should see a doctor.